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NCAA Seeks to Keep Paterno Estate from Questioning University Presidents

by on December 17, 2014 10:58 AM

The Paterno Estate seeks to place unnecessary legal burdens on innocent people, or so the NCAA claims in a new filing in Centre County Court.

The NCAA objects to subpoenas that the estate of former Penn State Head Football Coach Joe Paterno wants to serve on five university presidents with ties to the NCAA. 

The five presidents in question – Stan Albrecht of Utah State, William Harvey of Hampton University, Nathan Hatch of Wake Forest University, Harris Pastides of South Carolina University and Lou Anna Simon of Michigan State University – all served on the NCAA’s executive committee in 2012, when the NCAA’s sanctions against Penn State were issued.

The NCAA argues in court documents filed on Tuesday that the Paterno estate intends to serve the subpoenas in pursuit of a claim that the court has already dismissed. The estate has argued that the NCAA committed a breech of contract in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, but the NCAA points out that the court dismissed that claim in September.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit - including the Paterno estate, Penn State trustee Al Clemens, and former university assistant football coaches Jay Paterno and William Kenney – sued the NCAA in Centre County Court last year. They argue that the NCAA overstepped its bounds in the aftermath of the Sandusky scandal, ultimately decreasing the value of the Paterno estate and making it more difficult for Paterno and Kenney to find work.

The NCAA claims that if the Paterno estate is allowed to subpoena and question the five university presidents, attorneys for the estate will continue to pursue questions related to the dismissed breech of contract allegations.

"The Estate should not be permitted to impose burdensome discovery obligations on the parties... in pursuit of information about a properly dismissed claim," Tuesdays filing reads.

However, the filing also notes that the estate's other claims - including civil conspiracy and defamation - have not been dismissed, and that there is "much discovery to be taken" concerning those allegations.

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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for StateCollege.com who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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